Cavs vs Raptors Game 3 Preview

Three down, one to go. The Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt to wrap up their series against the Toronto Raptors at 8:30 p.m. in the Q. A win tonight would send the Cavs into their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals against the winner of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers series.

The Cavs are walking into this game with a home court advantage and a tremendous amount of momentum after coming out of game three with a LeBron James buzzer beater to win the game.

Toronto doesn’t have much to feel confident about. They have lost the past nine playoff games to Cleveland. They’re facing a potential sweep on the road. The Cavs held one of their leading scorers, DeMar DeRozan, to just eight points in game three.

LeBron, when asked about DeRozan’s poor performance said, “He missed a lot of easy opportunities…we’re just trying to make it a little bit more challenging that’s all.”

Looking ahead to the Eastern Conference Finals of the Cavs and the Celtics if each come out on top of their semifinal series, LeBron said he has been watching the other teams in their series. He said he has a lot of knowledge and insight on the Boston team who is missing their two star players Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving and still flourishing but doesn’t want to talk about it just yet, he still has a lot of work to do in the series against Toronto tonight.

Cavaliers Top Pelicans on LeBron’s Historic Night

History was made in Cleveland last night as the Cavs played the Pelicans. The final score being 107-102.

The game started off with everybody in anticipation for a new record to be broken by LeBron James. It only took 6 minutes for that to happen, as LeBron scored 11 points in the first quarter alone to break Michael Jordan’s record of 866 straight double digit scoring games.

Accompanying LeBron in the first half was Rodney Hood, who looked more aggressive than he has all season. He scored 16 points to round out the game.

Jordan Clarkson was also huge off the bench once again for the Cavs. He didn’t miss any of his four three point attempts, and finished the game with 23 points on 69% shooting.

The first quarter began with the Cavaliers playing a fast pace style the likes the Pelicans couldn’t seem to stop, even given Kevin Love’s off night.

The Pelicans bounced back in the second quarter to take a 10 point lead into halftime, even with their star, Anthony Davis not playing as well.

The same continued for the Pelicans in the third quarter. Jrue Holliday stepped up his game and looked almost unguardable.

It became more difficult to stop him once George Hill went down with an apparent ankle injury. He scored all 8 of his points in the beginning of the third.

It was only once the threes starting falling for Cleveland that the Cavs turned the tide taking a one point lead into the fourth and final quarter.

The Cavs and Pelicans battled in the fourth quarter exchanging buckets down the stretch. The game never fully seemed in reach until LeBron decided to take over.

Exposing the mismatch of E’twaun Moore, Mirotic, and Miller, LeBron James went isolation on three straight possessions. Using his now signature setback, LeBron scored 6 straight points to stretch the lead.

On the other side, Jrue Holliday used screens by Anthony Davis in order to get the switch on Kevin Love, which he scored nearly every time.

The Cavaliers lead by three with 20 seconds left. Jrue Holliday found himself wide open for the game tying three, but hit it off the back of the rim. Jordan Clarkson was fouled and made both free throws to put the game out of reach.

The Cavaliers moved to 46-30 on the season, and look to keep their place as the third seed in the east. The continue their home stand when the Dallas Mavericks come into Quicken Loans on April 1st.

 

Central Michigan Caps Magical Season with MAC Title

 

For the first time since 2013, the Central Michigan Chippewas women’s basketball team will be going to the NCAA Tournament.

Both the Chippewas and the Bulls expected themselves to be in this game after going 17-1 and 16-2 in conference play respectively.

Presley Hudson lit the Chippewas offensive spark early and often, pouring in 11 points going 3-3 from downtown. The Chippewas turned things up defensively as well, as they were able to frustrate Buffalo point guard Stephanie Reid who was 0-2 after the first quarter.

The game would turn on its head in the second quarter, however, as all good MAC Tournament Championship Games seem to. Down 34-23, Buffalo forward Mariah Suchan nearly dove out of bounds to save a loose ball to Reid, who found sharpshooter Cierra Dillard open for 3. This sparked a 17-5 run that put Buffalo up 40-39 via another Dillard 3 ball. Central would calm the storm a bit as Presley Hudson and gang would retake a 43-40 lead heading into halftime.

The second half absolutely belonged to Chippewa senior Tinara Moore. After a scoreless first half (with only 2 touches according to coach Sue Guevara in the post-game presser), Moore established a dominant presence down low. Hudson and Moore dissected the Bulls defense with the high pick and roll as Moore cruised to a 17-point second half performance and finished with 14 rebounds.

Central would extend the lead to as much as 14 before Buffalo made another run to cut it to 4. The Chippewas were able to make enough of their free throws in the closing seconds, however, as Central Michigan punched their ticket with a 96-91 victory.

As mentioned, Tinara Moore’s rebounding down low was too much for Buffalo as double teams failed to slow her down even the slightest. Guards Micaela Kelly and Presley Hudson poured in 26 points each as they frustrated Buffalo’s perimeter defense all day. All starters for Central Michigan finished in double digit scoring.

All-MAC Tournament honors from Central Michigan went to Tinara Moore, Micaela Kelly, and MAC Tournament MVP Reyna Frost who had 10 points and 11 boards in the championship win. Frost scored 14 in the quarterfinal win over Eastern Michigan and 18 in the semifinal win over Miami Ohio. “Thank my teammates and thank my coaches for giving me this award”, tournament MVP Frost said, “preparing me for these games”.

For Buffalo, Cierra Dillard was not her usual self from the field as she really struggled to be efficient. Dillard would finish with 26 points on 6-20 from the field and 5-15 from 3. Stephanie Reid, one of the leaders of this Buffalo team, suffered 2 injuries in the game, the latter of which ending her day.
In inadvertent elbow to her right wrist late in the 3rd forced the trainer to wrap it.

Reid would sit the beginning of the 4th and a sprained ankle at the 5-minute mark would end her day. She would finish with 15 points. A technical foul on Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack with 8 minutes left for disagreeing with a call would prove crucial down the stretch.

Despite 17 turnovers for Central compared to just 5 for Buffalo, the Chippewas overcame this with their persistence on the glass (primarily because of Moore). Central outrebounded Buffalo 44-34 and those extra possessions down the stretch really took the life out of the Buffalo defense.

Buffalo, after a 27-5 regular season record, is still hoping to be a team to receive an at-large bid. “I don’t see how they can’t be”, said Central Michigan head coach Sue Guevara. “They’re one of the top 64 teams in this country”. Coach Guevara also pointed out the MAC Conference was 7th overall in RPI which should work in Buffalo’s favor.

Buffalo forward Summer Hemphill also believes that this Bulls team still has work to do. “The season’s definitely not over”, the freshman said. “We have a longer run to look forward to”.

 

 

 

 

 

Heartbreak in Cleveland

The Akron Zips dominated almost the entire game, but couldn’t finish the job. Akron’s season ends in the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament to Eastern Michigan, 67-58.

Post game Coach Groce took to the microphone to talk about the toughness his players showed. Akron started the game as well as they had all season, “I think this is maybe as good as we’ve played all year” Groce said addressing the media.

Coach Groce also elaborated on the two games the team endured this week. He commented saying “Obviously two different games, one where we’re down by 23 and come back and win, and this one we’re up 19 and not quite able to finish them off”.

Leading the way for the Zips was sophomore forward, Daniel Utomi who put in a 14 point effort. Malcolm Duvivier, playing in his final collegiate game, and Eric Parrish both chipped in 13 points, respectfully.

The Zips started off hot and got out to a 10-0 start. They showed no signs of being affected by Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone. Akron got the ball where they wanted, when they wanted and hit threes in the process.

Eastern Michigan was held to 32% shooting from the field in the first half, as junior forward, James Thompson IV was in foul trouble and only had 2 points entering halftime. The Zips continued to pull away and lead 31-22.

The second half was much more of the same in the beginning. The Zips were leading by 19 points with a little over 5 minutes left remaining in the game, but that is when things began to fall apart.

The game was chippy from start to finish including technical fouls being called on Coach Groce, James Thompson IV, and Tim Bond. The biggest technical was on Jimond Ivey, who received it by slamming the ball in front of the ref.

Ivey received the technical at the 8 minute mark in the second half, as the Zips lead by 11. From that point on, the Eagles went on a 22-5 run to end the game, and in the process finishing the Zips season.

The Eagles were paced by Elijah Minnie. The third team all-MAC selection had 21 points and 3 blocks. Eastern Michigan also got a combined 30 points from Tim Bond and Paul Jackson.

Eastern Michigan will move onto the semi-finals against Toledo, while Akron will be looking forward to the off-season.

Akron finishes the season 14-18 on the season, and 6-12 in conference play. The record will not show the growth the team has shown over the last month.

So ends the first season in the Coach Groce era. Akron will look to bounce back with a mostly returning roster. The season did not reach the same success as years prior, but it does give an insight into a young team with a bright future.